The Watchmen Director’s Cut features a whopping 24 extra minutes of
footage, bringing the movie up to an epic length of 186 minutes, or a
hair over three full hours. We had been told that the new version
features the death of Hollis Mason and ‘more Rorschach,’ but what
exactly has been added? And how does it impact the film? Luckily for
you I gave up my Saturday afternoon to watch the new cut and try to
catalog as many of the additions and extensions as I could.
saw the film twice in theaters and I have a reasonable memory for this
kind of stuff, but some of the extensions consist of just a couple of
extra words of dialogue or a shot that goes on a bit longer. This is a
real director’s cut, which has a pacing and rhythm all its own and
isn’t just a bunch of deleted scenes slapped back in the movie. But
that means I may have missed a thing or two, or something I think was
extended actually just plays slightly differently in the context of the
director’s cut. This list may change depending on further research and
feedback. If you see something on this list that you are certain is not
extended, drop me a line.
1) Rorschach vs cops in Blake’s apartment. The first extra scene is
also the very worst in the movie. As Rorschach goes through Eddie
Blake’s closet and learns he was the Comedian, two uniformed cops come
in to investigate noises. One gets knocked out by Rorschach, and the
other seemingly empties a clip into Rorschach’s back as the vigilante
stands on the window ledge before jumping out, which happens offscreen
for maximum Batmanlike effect. It’s a terrible scene for a couple of
reasons – one, it’s an action beat where the movie doesn’t need one,
the cop shooting at Rorschach at seemingly point blank range but
missing is silly and it ruins a glorious transition from the original
cut, where Rorschach is looking at a picture of the Minutemen and we go
to the same picture in Hollis Mason’s house. But the good news is that
this is the hands down worst addition, so we get that out of the way
2) Hollis and Dan see Rorschach on TV. A tiny beat is added to the
Hollis and Dan reminiscing scene, where they see Rorschach on
television as a newscaster talks about the superhero beating up a cop.
3) Out of the subway. Dan walks out of the subway on his way home from Hollis’ house. The camera pans up a giant Nostalgia ad.
4) In the kitchen. Dan mentions the cop attack to Rorschach in the
kitchen. Rorschach dismisses it, saying the cop wasn’t permanently
5) Possible: the secret entrance. When Dan tells Rorschach they should
continue their conversation downstairs we see him open up a bookcase
that conceals the secret entrance to the basement. I’m not certain if
this bit, which is just an extra shot, was in the original cut.
6) Rorschach walks in the rain. After leaving Dan’s house we see
Rorschach walking through the rain, voice overing a non-story
Rorschach’s Journal entry. It’s essentially extraneous, as are many of
the extra Rorschach scenes.
7) Dan and Laurie and the cab. After their dinner, Dan walks Laurie to
a cab. The extension is a line or two where he asks her if she always
travels with federal bodyguards, and she talks about how they want to
make sure she isn’t upsetting Dr. Manhattan. This is setting up
Laurie’s later house arrest.
8) Kovacs walks at the funeral. There’s more of Rorschach as Kovacs
walking with his doomsday sign outside the gates of the cemetery before
the Comedian’s funeral. I’m assuming that the addition of a couple of
seconds of footage impacts editing later on in the sequence, as it’s
set to a Simon and Garfunkle song, but I wasn’t able to see what was
trimmed or notice if the song plays longer in this cut.
9) Comedian on the chopper. During the opening of the Dr. Manhattan
flashback to Viet Nam we get an extra shot of the Comedian on a
helicopter, shooting a pistol at people on the ground and grinning like
10) Dr. Manhattan arrives at Crimebusters. The Crimebusters meeting
flashback begins with Manhattan and Janey Slater teleporting in. “See,”
he says to her. “I told you you wouldn’t be the only one dressed up.”
Laurie takes notice of him. This is an addition that’s weird in that it
feels like it just should have been in the movie from the start – it’s
about 12 seconds, tops, and it’s one of the few scenes that shows us
the more human Dr. Manhattan. We hear so much about how he’s lost his
humanity that seeing him joke shows us that humanity.
11) Eddie talks more. There’s more of the Comedian talking about how
useless the superhero team concept is. It’s a pretty good addition, and
the Comedian makes his point more clearly. Rorschach gets a whiny word
12) The Comedian vs rioters. During Dan’s flashback to the Keene Act
riots we get a little bit more before the Comedian jumps off the
Owlship and starts breaking heads. A woman shouts up “My son is a cop
and he lost his job because of you faggots!” Someone throws a can which
nails the Comedian in the forehead; that’s what makes him decide to
start kicking ass.
13) Possible: More Moloch. There’s a couple of extra seconds of Moloch
coming home before he gets jumped by Rorschach. The ex-villain gets his
14) The news vendor and Kovacs. As Dan and Laurie leave to go to Hollis
Mason’s we see the news vendor and the comic book kid for a moment. The
news vendor tells Kovacs that the New Frontierman hasn’t arrived yet.
Apparently there’s more of the kid and the vendor in the Ultimate Cut,
coming this Christmas. Those hoping that the Director’s Cut might add
more of these characters so that their deaths at the end carry more
meaning will be disappointed.
15) Laurie’s itching for a fight. As Dan and Laurie walk to Hollis’ Dan
warns her this is a bad neighborhood. “Good,” she says. “I’m in a bad
16) Manhattan empties the TV studio. After being ambushed on live TV
and freaking out, Dr. Manhattan makes everyone in the TV studio
disappear before going off to Mars. This addition better pays off the
‘Leave me alone!’ yell; in the original cut John just goes to Mars.
17) Extended post-mugging. After finishing off the muggers we have a
longer moment with Dan and Laurie. Laurie’s done for the night; Dan
tries to get her to go to Hollis’, but she goes home to the military
base. It’s an interesting look at how the characters react to the
violence; while Laurie relishes it in the moment, she’s shaken
afterwards. Dan is more controlled during the fight, but he’s still
raring to go afterwards. This is reflected in the post-tenement fire
and the post-jail break scenes.
18) Additional Hollis scene. Dan goes to Hollis’ house, where they see Dr. Manhattan freak out on television.
19) Possible: Extra shot of John during his origin. This is one I’m
really unsure about. As John is on Mars recalling his origin, there
seems to be an extra shot of him hovering in the air, with fall leaves
floating in the air.
20) John explains the symbol on his forehead. As John draws the symbol on his forehead
he explains that the marketing boys want him to have a logo, and that
he chose one he can respect. This is simply a voice over addition, and
I’m not sure why it wasn’t there in the first place.
21) Laurie is questioned by the Feds. Returning to her quarters, Laurie
is held for questioning by the Feds in Dr. Manhattan’s disappearance.
They want to know where he could have gone and what she did to make him
leave. When one starts making misogynistic insinuations about her, she
slams his head into a ping pong table.
22) Laurie’s flashback to the Crimebusters. The second most important
missing scene! After walking out of the Crimebusters meeting Laurie
talks to the Comedian – until her mother barges in. This sets up
Laurie’s later realization on Mars that the Comedian is her father. In
the original cut this scene is only shown during Laurie’s flashback on
Mars, lending it zero emotional weight and giving it none of the
surprise that comes from seeing it play out once in a different
context. Here it seems like Blake is hitting on the young girl, and
it’s the repetition of the scene that really pays it off. This missing
scene was the edit I felt most in the original cut.
23) Manhattan is discovered on Mars. As the Feds hold Laurie in house
arrest Felix Gaeta from Battlestar Galactica walks in and says they
found Manhattan on Mars. Since this was cut in the original version
there’s some ADR when Laurie meets Manhattan in Dan’s basement: “The TV
says you’re on Mars.” Strangely, that ADR remains in the Director’s
Cut, despite the reintroduction of this scene showing how Laurie found
out John’s whereabouts.
24) Nixon the madman. There’s an extended version of the scene where
Nixon learns that Manhattan has left. We learn more about the possible
Soviet reaction, and Kissinger counsels that the president must scare
the Russians by being “Nixon the madman.”
25) Laurie’s escape. As the scientists lay out satellite photos of Mars
and Dr. Manhattan’s location, Laurie beats up the misogynistic Fed,
takes his gun and escapes. This sets up Laurie’s gun in Karnak at the
end of the film.
26) Veidt’s assistant will take no dictation. During the assassination
attempt by Roy Chess Veidt’s assistant takes even more damage. Besides
taking a bullet through the calf, she gets her fingers shot right off
in clinical detail. This is a little over the top, and the original
version of the scene plays better and less splatsticky.
27) Rorschach’s secret hiding place. We see where Rorschach hides his stuff, in
a garbage bin in an alley. Folks hoping to see Kovac’s slutty landlady
will be disappointed. After getting his outfit on, Rorschach hears an
assault in progress. “Some nights the city is generous to me.”
28) Roy Chess investigation. Straight from that Rorschach breaks into
Roy Chess’ apartment looking for clues. He finds a matchbook from Happy
Harry’s Bar, where he and Dan go at the end of the film to get leads.
29) Extended psych evaluation. The psych evaluation scene plays out
slightly longer, with Rorschach getting a couple of more lines in.
Nothing earth shattering, but slightly more Rorschach character stuff.
30) Possible: The murderer comes home. Probably the scene I’m least
sure about. During Rorschach’s flashback to the case that made him a
sociopath there seems to be a couple of extra seconds of the murderer
coming home, just before Rorschach starts throwing dog corpses at him.
31) The doctor gives up. At the end of the psych evaluation the doctor leaves the room and tells the guard “I can’t help him.”
32) Dan remembers Hollis. When Laurie finds Dan looking at the old
costumes in his basement there’s a very quick additional line where Dan
reminisces about meeting Hollis Mason for the first time and the
connection they had.
33) The tenement girl sees Jesus. As Laurie leads people from the
burning tenement into the Owlship a young girl asks her mother if Nite
Owl is Jesus. There is no additional scene of Laurie getting everyone
coffee and the original cut keeps the transition from Dan and Laurie
sharing a lusty stare as the Owlship leaves the tenement to the people
having been offloaded and Laurie putting away the coffee cups.
34) Rorschach’s not home. When Dan and Laurie break into prison the
first place they go is Rorschach’s cell. They see that he’s not there
and that Lawrence’s armless corpse is laying outside the bars.
35) Leaving prison. Dan, Laurie and Rorschach get onto the prison roof.
As Dan calls Archie over, Rorschach says that the only thing that could
get Dan back in costume was a nice pair of legs. Then he essentially
calls Laurie a whore for cheating on Dr. Manhattan. They start
bickering but have to stop as cops come out on the roof. They open fire
on the Owlship as Rorschach closes the hatch. This scene sets up why
Laurie is bummed out when they get back to Dan’s house. It also sets up
why Dan is so pissed off at Rorschach when he talks about Dan’s
weakness for women.
36) Hollis Mason’s death. This is the big one. Really, if you needed
any reason to buy the Director’s Cut, it’s this scene. It opens with
the news vendor and the comic book reading kid; a group of Knot Tops
come out of the subway and stop in front of the newstand to discuss how
Nite Owl just busted Rorschach out of prison. One of the Knot Tops says
that Rorschach killed his buddy. Another says that the Nite Owl lives
in the neighborhood, and they should go get revenge.
Meanwhile, Hollis is on the phone with Sally Jupiter. When she asks why
he finally called after all these years he says because the TV just
showed Dan and Laurie at the tenement fire, and that he’s thinking
about the old days. They chat briefly but he hangs up when someone
knocks on the door. It’s the Knot Tops; they bust in and start beating
him down. In a glorious scene scored to Intermezzo from Cavelleria
Rusticana Hollis fights back, using an old boxer’s stance. As he lands
punches he sees his attackers as his old enemies from the 40s; each hit
is punctuated by a flashbulb in a way that homages Raging Bull. As
Hollis is down and about to be clubbed to death he sees the final
attacker as Moloch in his youth.
37) More on Mars. There are some slight dialogue additions between John
and Laurie on Mars. I would almost swear they used different takes in
some of these scenes, but that would be crazy.
38) Dan goes nuts. After Dan and Rorschach get their info at Happy
Harry’s they see news on Hollis Mason’s death on TV. Dan snaps; seeing
a Top Knot in the bar he begins savagely beating the guy, knocking out
his teeth. Dan screams that he will return and destroy this whole
neighborhood, that they’ll die (he’s right!) and Rorschach grabs his
arm and stops him, warning him not to freak out in front of the
civilians. When Rorschach and Dan are breaking into Veidt’s office we
get a glimpse of Dan still being bummed out about Hollis.
Like I said, I may have missed a moment or two, and I may have added a
moment or two that aren’t actually extensions or additions.
How does the whole thing play? It felt, to me, noticeably longer. There
are some pacing issues – many of the Rorschach scenes are very
redundant and should never have even been shot – but most of the
additions are great. Even moreso than in theaters this feels like a
Movie, a big, epic movie. The kind they used to make with
intermissions. It moves at a pace its own, and it isn’t afraid to
linger on character moments more than action scenes. The Director’s Cut
feels fuller, more fleshed out and has some more breathing room. Some
of the minor quibbles (“Where did Laurie get a gun?”) are dealt with,
although there isn’t an extra scene or even a line dealing with
Bubastis, who still pops up out of nowhere in act three without
This is the real movie, the complete experience. The upcoming Ultimate
Edition will have slightly more of the news vendor and the kid (along
with the insertion of Tales from the Black Freighter), but I think
that’s a touch more gimmicky. The three hours of the Director’s Cut
reflects the real vision of Zack Snyder when it comes to adapting the
book, and while I think the theatrical cut remains strong, this version
reminds me of the Extended Editions of Lord of the Rings – this will be
the version of Watchmen you watch in the years to come. This is the
more satisfying, more full, more complete version.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey